One way to ensure you capture the eyes and ears of the gaming public is by attaching a catchy title to your game; something out of the ordinary. With Hungry Baby: Party Treats, the sense of confusion was more than enough to see me question just what this wacky indie adventure could be all about.
So Hungry Baby: Party Treats is one of the latest party games to arrive on the Nintendo Switch and it can see up to 4 players battle it out to ensure their treat is the one that feeds the hungry baby.
From the early moments, one of the first things that stands out is the art style. It’s colourful, it’s got that catchy cartoon design and it simply oozes with character as players attempt to navigate their party treats over to the huge baby face – what with its horrifying yet somehow cutesy bulging eyes on the side of the screen.
There are two ways to play the game with both a Party mode and Campaign to choose from. Campaign mode plays out a lot like the former mode and can also be played with up to four players should that so be the wish. In Campaign however, players can jump in for a completely single-player experience, with the sole aim being to work their way through the 15 trapped-filled levels. A three star rating is tied to a menacing timer that will see you go chasing down scores, normally after you’ve fallen just short thanks to an unexpected trap for the millionth time.
The goal of the game is certainly a simple one. Each map is constructed of chocolate squares and after choosing the treat you wish to be from the selection of 30 unique offerings, players must navigate their treat through the safest path to each alarm clock on the level, waking the sleeping baby before jumping onto its outstretched tongue to complete the level. The holdup is that any square you jump on has the potential to be a deadly trap composed of either blades, what I believe to be a giraffe tongue, penguins, or some other crazy death inducing wonder. Should you land on one of these squares, you’ll be found spawning back at the beginning of the map, whilst you watch the timer at the top slowly empty and your chance of a three-star score go with it.
Now, with traps seemingly staying in the same position on each and every level, it is possible that players could simply learn the locations of each and every one, but Hungry Baby: Party Treats seems to do a great job of alerting you to the fact you never quite have much time to nab those three stars. Even with the traps visible after falling victim to them the first time, it’s all too easy when in a rush to fall into them as you try to shave milliseconds off your time.
One slight negative does stem from the fact that even though each level brings a different layout of traps, the stages themselves aren’t really all too varied. Of course, with such vibrant colour and plenty to watch out for in terms of traps, the focus never really boils down to your surroundings, but it would have been nice to see a little more change throughout.
When playing in Party mode though, things take a bit of change, as here players are gunning it out with each other. When you bring competition into play, things always get that more tense and exciting and that’s certainly the case with Hungry Baby: Party Treats. Sadly, the multiplayer does indeed come down to local only with no online connectivity whatsoever – something this game would have benefited from hugely. Should you have enough players to go at it though then the fun factor certainly ramps up, especially when you start to factor in the many power-ups that only add to the ongoing challenge! There is certainly enough to keep players occupied for a good few hours should you have the player count to be going on with.
A major positive comes from the inclusion of bots in Hungry Baby: Party Treats and whilst many will scoff at the thought of competing against the AI, the ones here do at least seem to be somewhat competitive. Should you wish to enjoy the multiplayer madness but have no group to be going on with, then this AI is ready to fill the gaps and ensure you have plenty to be shouting about – although they don’t quite bring the same excitement as playing against real players.
Should you enjoy unique games that look to bring something original to the gaming scene then Hungry Baby: Party Treats delivers that breath of fresh air. It has humour, it has charm, it’s great for the family and it’s easy to pick up and play regardless of age or skill level. Of course some will find issue with the level of luck that is factored into things here, but if you want something to pass the time with friends then this is deserving of a few hours of your time.
Now go feed that baby. For we all know a hungry baby is an unhappy baby!
Release date: May 2019
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review)
Massive thanks to: QubicGames